Mauritius: Prime Minister Jugnauth Addresses 73rd Session of United Nations General Assembly

press release

In the spirit of upholding the Charter of the United Nations and their commitment to the international rule of law, Member States of the Group of African States tabled a resolution in June 2017 to seek an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. The decolonisation of Mauritius remains to date incomplete in view of the unlawful excision of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius prior to its accession to independence.

The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement while addressing the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 September 2018 in New York.

He highlighted that at the heart of the request for an advisory opinion is the issue of decolonisation, which is a matter of international public order under the Charter and a central element of the work of the United Nations and General Assembly. The advisory opinion will also further clarify and strengthen the rule of law at the international level, at a time when such strengthening is greatly needed, he pointed out.

Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the hearings at the Court have been completed, and that the judges will now deliberate on a matter that has raised important issues on decolonisation and human rights, particularly the right to self-determination of the people of Mauritius and the plight suffered by Mauritians of Chagossian origin who were forcibly removed from the Chagos Archipelago.

As regards the drugs issue, the Prime Minister pointed out that both trafficking and unregulated drug consumption have the potential of destroying the future of the youth. "My Government remains determined to fight drug trafficking. In that regard, the Commission of Inquiry on Drugs set up to enquire on all aspects of drug trafficking in Mauritius has recently submitted its findings", he stated.

He added that a Ministerial Committee has been set up to look into the recommendations of the Commission which includes, inter alia, the strengthening of existing institutional framework as well as the review of relevant legislations. Mauritius, he remarked, has committed itself to the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem and that closer cooperation is needed so as to address this scourge.

The Prime Minister made an appeal for a renewed global commitment to undertake ambitious efforts in combating climate change and adapt to its effects so as to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. He underpinned that the SAMOA Pathway remains a valid roadmap for measuring how much progress has been achieved in addressing the challenges and difficulties faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including climate change. "We welcome the holding of the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway next September and call on all stakeholders to participate at the highest level in order to accompany SIDS in strengthening their resilience", he added.

He emphasised that climate cannot be dissociated from the oceans and that the planet's future also depends on our ability to further protect the ocean and increase its ability to act as a buffer against climate change. Global leadership and enhanced multilateral cooperation is required so as to safeguard the ocean and its role as the natural weather regulator of the planet, he cautioned.

Prime Minister Jugnauth underpinned that the United Nations is and will always be at the centre of all action for sustainable development, peace and security. He appealed for a special consideration of Africa's needs and priorities in the restructuring of the peace and security architecture, and commended the efforts of the Secretary General to enhance the framework of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union which is vital for sustained peace and development in the continent.

He underscored that Africa's growth is showing promising signs of rebounding and several countries are already undergoing positive transitions. Elections in Africa during the last several years demonstrate that African countries have strengthened their democracies while ensuring a peaceful transition of power, he stated. This improved political climate, reconciliation efforts, and inclusive participation rights herald a new age of governance that deserves to be supported by the international community, he added.

Mauritius is also concerned with the situation in the Middle East where the scourge of violence and war continues to claim innocent lives, the Prime Minister pointed out. "Peace in that region would remain elusive as long as the international community does not live up to its legal and moral responsibilities to uphold international law. Mauritius therefore reiterates its call for renewed and genuine international efforts for negotiations towards an early realisation of the two-state solution, with an independent and viable Palestine, existing side by side and at peace with the State of Israel", he stated.

Speaking on terrorism, the Prime Minister remarked that despite all current efforts, terrorism still remains a painful reality claiming numerous lives daily and threatening world peace and development. It is therefore urgent to build consensus on global counter terrorism efforts and reinforce multilateral cooperation in fighting this scourge, added the Prime Minister.

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